Destination Ranking

Overland destinations in Central Europe profit from record summer

The growth winners in Central Europe
The growth winners in Central Europe

Driving-distance destinations in and around Germany boomed last year as holidaymakers enjoyed scorching temperatures close to home instead of flying aboard, the fvw Destination Ranking 2019 shows.

Germany’s Baltic and North Sea coasts, the Netherlands and Poland were just some of the winners with high-growth rates for visitors and overnight stays. Within Germany, the northern states of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern proved very popular, especially with families. Overall, the number of overnight stays by Germans within their own country increased by 3.8% to nearly 390 million in 2018, the fastest growth rate in the last five years.

Two neighbouring countries again performed well on the German market in 2018. The Netherlands registered an 8.2% rise in overnight stays by German visitors last year, and a 55% increase over the last five years. Although many Germans headed for Amsterdam, where overtourism has become a serious problem, the Dutch beaches were popular with families from western German regions. Similarly, Poland continues to win more German visitors with a 6.5% rise in overnight stays last year, which represents one third more over the last five years.

The fastest-growing destination in a five-year comparison, however, is Slovenia, with its mix of mountainous countryside and attractive cities. German overnight stays in the small country on the sunny side of the Alps increased by 8% in 2018, and by 68% since 2013. To a certain extent, Slovenia is attracting Germans who traditionally holidayed in Austria or Switzerland. Austria showed a solid rise last year but has achieved only moderate growth over the last five years, while Switzerland has seen a 16% drop in overnight stays by Germans over the same period, although it did show an improvement last year.

Elsewhere, France has made a good comeback on the German market over the last two years following terrorist attacks but remains below record levels. Belgium is also suffering for similar reasons with fewer German visitors.

Among the other Central European countries, the Czech Republic continues to draw more German tourists year after year, and Hungary is back in favour after several years of declines, but Slovakia is still under-performing with fewer German visitors.

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